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The publishing activity of the Villa Decius Institute for Culture is aimed at presenting the output of artists visiting the Villa within the literary scholarships and residencies. The publications are published in various languages, including in original language versions or translations into Polish or English. The publishing house prepares also publications and studies promoting the values and ideas underpinning the activities of theVilla Decius Institute for Culture.

Aaiún Nin "Broken Halves of a Milky Sun"

translated by Paweł Łyżwiński and Adam Partyka
Lokator 2022

Aaiún Nin's volume of poems "Broken Halves of a Milky Sun" was published in June 2022 by the Lokator publishing house in Krakow as part of the Villa Decius Institute for Culture publishing series under the patronage of Krakow UNESCO City of Literature.

In their debut volume Aaiún Nin deals with the memories of childhood and youth spent in Angola, and the experience of migrating to Europe, accompanied by the discovery of a non-heteronormative sexual identity. "Broken Halves of a Milky Sun" is not an exotic postcard from warm countries. It is a shocking picture of the reality of postcolonial Africa and a ruthlessly honest manifestation of disagreement. Aaiún Nin traces the consequences of the patriarchal order of modern Angola, exploring the themes of sexual violence against women, religious fundamentalism and social inequalities, and makes a devastating criticism of the anti-immigrant policies of Western countries, exposing racism permeating the First World societies. The best metaphor for the landscape of neglected African cities, which serve as the background for these poems, and for the issues raised by them, is the author's painting on the cover - inspired by the destroyed façades of Luanda's colonial buildings and reminiscent of the borders of continents and countries that hold back crowds of people seeking refuge today.
The result of this search is an extremely personal book, and at the same time aware of the broad geopolitical context; devastatingly honest and inexhaustible. Although the diagnoses contained in it are depressing, it does not stop at despair, but in the midst of injustice and suffering finds hope and joy that, in this dark time, flow from building and maintaining interpersonal relationships and cherishing the memory of our roots.

"Broken Halves of a Milky Sun" is a bold poetic voice that exposes colonialism, war, patriarchy and racism, and is at the same time a passionate tale of love, body and desire.
A photograph of a cover of the book titled Książka do pisania. Willa Decjusza. On the cover a black and white picture of the front side of the villa

A book for writing. Villa Decius.

"A book for writing. Villa Decius. "
Publishing House Austeria, 2021

To mark the 25th anniversary of the restoration of Villa Decius, the Villa Decius Institute for Culture in collaboration with the Publishing House Austeria have prepared a jubilee publication – "Villa Decius. A book for writing".
This beautifully produced stylish notebook contains texts and quotations related to Villa Decius - its architecture, five hundred years of history and photographs by the French artist Pierre Vallet. Pierre Vallet was the first beneficiary of Artist Residencies, as part of which he stayed at Villa Decius in January 2020, photographing, among other things, this magnificent Renaissance monument.

A copy of  "Villa Decius. A book for writing" (price: PLN 34, shipping costs included) can be ordered by e-mail at:

or can be purchased in the bookshop of the Publishing House Austeria in Krakow.
A photograph of a cover of the book titled Return to the mountains. On the cover an illustration by Reem Yasuof.

"The Return to the Mountains. A Diary in the Shadow of War"

"The Return to the Mountains. A Diary in the Shadow of War" by Kholoud Charaf,
translated by Prof. Mark Dziekan (IKWD, 2020)

In 2019, the book "The Return to the Mountains. A Diary in the Shadow of War" received the Moroccan Ibn Battuta Award in travel prose.

"Return to the Mountains" is a poetic prose that combines elements of a journal, travel literature and a free-flowing philosophical reflection. When the author returns to her home town after long years, the images from her childhood come back to life, and individual memory begins to intertwine with the history of the Middle East, preserved not only in historical monuments but also in the richness of ancient rituals and the harsh, volcanic landscape. Since the laws of human dignity no longer seem to apply in a war-torn world, the only key to understanding the present turns out to be the past.

The partners of the publication are the City of Krakow, Krakow UNESCO City of Literature and the ICORN network.
A photograph of a cover of the book titled Reversed sky. On the cover an illustration by Reem Yasuof.

Kholoud Charaf — Odwrócone niebo / Reversed Sky

Translated by M. M. Dziekan (Polish), L. Price, P. Łyżwiński (English), Znak 2019.

A collection of poems by Kholoud Charaf, a Syrian poet, writer, art critic and activist at the scholarship of the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) in the Institute of Culture Villa Decius.

The poems by Kholoud Charaf are modern fairy tales. They describe the world where beauty does not exist without cruelty and the remnants of life are scattered by the wind across the abandoned, dilapidated space. The poet's imagination has creative and imitative power. Colourful pictures of recollections of the bucolic childhood overlap with the landscapes where the traces of the living beings are left but there is no life. Light blue sky crossed by swallows and children’s games are the symbols of the world, the order of which was disturbed by violence. “The Reversed Sky” presents intriguing thoughts of a pacifist for whom the war is a permanent state of imbalance pervading the whole world, not only the Middle East. (material of Znak)

The book was published in cooperation with Znak and inaugurates a publishing series of the Institute of Culture Villa Decius. The publication partner is Krakow UNESCO City of Literature.

The cover illustrations were painted by Reem Yassouf, a Syrian artist living in France.
A portrait picture of Kholoud Charaf
Kholoud Charaf – a poet, an art critic and a social activist in search of better opportunities for women and children who survived the war. She was born in Al Mjemr in the south of Syria. In 2016 she published her first poem collection, "The Remains of Butterfly". The originality of literary images and metaphors and the author’s ability to transform the difficult events of war into beautiful, imaginary worlds generated from memories has been well received by critics. In 2019 she has received the Ibn Battuta Award in the field of reportage for her second published book, a poetic diary "Return to the Mountains. A Journal in the Shadow of War". Her poems has been translated into English, French, Italian and Polish. The bilingual poem collection entitled "Odwrócone niebo / Reversed Sky" was published in Poland in 2019.
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